Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
I think it was the ever-quotable Yogi Berra who first coined the phrase, "It ain't over 'til it's over." This is true for two things at my house: trucks and tree houses.
This summer, my sons found some scrap lumber in our garage. They used it to build a makeshift lean-to between a couple of trees in the back yard. It kept them busy and satisfied for the entire afternoon.
It's amazing the things we do for our children. My husband came home from work, took one look at their fort and knew he could do better.
So began the planning and building of the Taj Mahal of tree forts Ð right in our own backyard.
While the boys had to make do with scrap wood, my husband drove off in his truck to purchase some of the lumberyard's finest.
Which brings us to the topic of trucks. It was lucky that my husband had his, because without it, the tree fort project would have been much more complicated. With a truck you can load, transport and build a fort like no man has built before.
I haven't always been a truckie. A couple of years ago, my husband convinced me that we (he) needed (wanted) a truck. A truck would allow him to haul loads of lumber. Being a guy who works in an office, he often has the need to haul lumber.
His hunt for the perfect truck lasted about 30 seconds. He called on a used model that was for sale and went to take a look.
They say that you shouldn't shop for a pet unless you are serious about buying, because of the impulsive nature that emerges when one is confronted with something as adorable as an eight-week-old kitten Ð or in this case a 5,000-pound Ford F150.
I certainly couldn't describe my husband's truck as "adorable," but his response to it was shockingly similar to a normal person's reaction to a puppy.
He assured me that it was the perfect truck. It had big heavy-duty tires, a loud engine and a great stereo Ð everything he'd been looking for. If he had that truck, he'd be a happy man, and never ask for another thing in his life.
Who among us doesn't want her husband to be happy?
He'd had the truck less than a month when the subject of a bed cover came up, except it wasn't called a bed cover. It had a fancy name: tonneau. His truck really needed a tonneau, which would cut down on wind resistance when driving; so the fancy-named cover was actually going to save us money.
You didn't have to convince me.
Next came custom floor mats. I buy floor mats for my minivan at the local super store. Mine don't say "Ford" on them, however. My husband's do. That's important.
A few months passed and deer season rolled around. Trucks drive through dangerous, wooded terrain during deer camp, and that can cost you. I found out from my husband that trees are immobile objects capable of taking out rearview mirrors in an instant.
Early this spring, my husband and I were going out to dinner Ð in his truck. As I opened the door, I noticed some sort of shaded plastic things at the top of the windows. These, I learned, were window visors Ð a useful and needed device for those many times when it is raining outside and you want to have your window cracked open. What a handy idea.
A short time later my husband and his truck just showed up (just showed up!) with what can only be described as a muzzle over the truck's grille. Once again, he patiently took the time to tell me that this newest addition was called a brush guard, and was outfitted to protect his truck from being scratched or scraped when driving in the woods. Plus it made the truck look really mean.
Remembering the mirror replacement incident from last deer season, I was forced to see the logic of a brush guard. It's important to protect one's truck from trees.
Speaking of trees, it seems that I had a few of them in my backyard that were screaming to be part of a fort.
It took a couple of weekends, but our tree house spans about 15 feet in a triangular fashion between three trees. It has a neat railing, a ladder and is painted dark green to blend with the pines surrounding it. After hours of labor, it was finally complete. Or so I thought.
Last Sunday, my husband and sons were huddled over the lumberyard ad, whispering. I heard bits and pieces, including the phrase, "Ask Mom."
It seems that they wanted to add a slide to the fort to allow for quick and easy exits. Who could say no to that?
They had the slide attached by early afternoon. I had to admit it was a nice addition.
"Looks great," I said.
"Yeah," my husband answered, "But you know what this thing really needs? A roof."
"And windows?" I asked with a smile.
"And windows!" he said with no small amount of enthusiasm. "There are lots of things we can add!"
"You bet," I said, thinking of his truck, and remembering another bit of wisdom from Yogi Berra. Because for me, it was like dj vu all over again.
Jill Pertler is a syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" at
booklocker.com. She also offers writing and design services at
http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com. Check Slices of Life out on Facebook. To e-mail Jill: